Cardboard Armor Transforms Kids into Heroes

Paper Crafts
Cardboard Armor Transforms Kids into Heroes

YouTube player

Picture it: Christmas 2011. Cardboard boxes were piled high in How-Lun Chen’s San Diego house — the shipping waste from all the presents he had ordered online. Rather than recycling it, he decided to create something. “I made a really simple helmet and shield and sword out of cardboard for my son, and he had a lot of fun!” How-Lun remembers.

Crafteeo helmets

Crafteeo quoteHe kept iterating on that design until he came up with the current pattern, complete with nose protection, metallic paint, and a light-up LED gem. “I tried putting together more and more sophisticated helmets, and it got to this point. And when he [my son] saw this the first time, it floored me, because the look on his face was so magical. It was something I wanted to capture.”

When How-Lun realized what a fun father-son activity it was putting the helmet together with his son, turning his idea into a kit was a natural next step. He began selling the patterns and kits under the moniker Crafteeo, and just like that, from some stacks of waste cardboard blossomed a startup business.

Two of the Guardian characters illustrated by Art Edel.

How-Lun is a man of many talents. In addition to manipulating cardboard into magical costumes, he is a storyteller. He has imagined characters who wear the differently styled and colored helmets — Pathfinder, Crimson Lion, Hammer Fist, and Wave Rider — and on the Crafteeo site he has posted an imaginative tale of bravery, pirates, and the sea around them, complete with intricate illustrations of the characters and their world by Art Edel.

“When kids put this on, their persona completely changes. You see their former self just kind of melt away, and they become this heroic self.”

Crafteeo sells patterns or kits so you can build your own sword, shield, and helmet. I got the chance to meet How-Lun at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 this year, and had an on-camera chat with him. Check out his sweet sword skills and hear a bit more about how he came up with the idea in the video above.

4 thoughts on “Cardboard Armor Transforms Kids into Heroes

  1. cknich5 says:

    Reblogged this on Denver Mini Maker Faire.

  2. d. peters says:

    Where is the ‘how to’? Art teacher neeeeeeeeeds a ‘how to’ lesson, video, something. Students would looove this. Please?

  3. Lit L says:

    same ask… want to host a workshop for local students!!

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

"To oppose something is to maintain it." –Ursula Le Guin

Currently: NEO.LIFE Alum: Instructables and MAKE

View more articles by Laura Cochrane
Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).